Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Damn Sport....

... is like a drug.  I didn't get much mileage in this past week due to schoolwork.  I got in a ride last Saturday that was about 40, and was off the bike (except for going to class.... hardly counts) completely until Thursday night, when I managed to squeeze in 22 miles as the sun set.  Needles to say, by the time Thursday night rolled around I was kind of a mess: couldn't sleep, wasn't eating right, couldn't sit still, couldn't concentrate...  Like a junky without his fix.  Today, since I got 35 miles in, (screw the !@*%& rain, I'm riding!), I feel nice and mellow :-)

Hanging around cyclists, I've noticed it's easy to tell who's ridden that day and who hasn't: the guys who are relaxed, not saying much with a goofy contented smile on their face got a ride in that day.... The ones who are animated, can't sit still, those guys didn't get to ride.  Naturally you have to take into account their natural pre-dispositions, but the different is striking.  It's like all cyclists have split personalities, depending on their daily mileage.  

I forget where I heard this saying, but it goes something like "the human body is an incredible machine: it thrives on hard work".  And it is so true - the more work you train your body to do, the less it likes to sit still.  Where I am now, vegetating for 2 or 3 days straight becomes nearly physically painful... cabin fever-esque.

Anyway, today, as I said earlier, I got about 35 miles in.  Average speed of 18.1, and I was mostly taking it easy, shooting for zone 2.  I had a nasty 10+ mph headwind for most of the ride, but it bothers me less when I'm taking it easy.  Probably because I don't feel like I'l throwing watts away beating my head against a brick wall trying to go just a little faster.

This weekend I've been poking around the net looking at faired recumbents.  Now before you laugh, remember that the fastest a human has ever gone under his own power is on one of these machines: 82.33 mph was the new record set this summer by Sam Whittingham (I think I spelled that correctly).  Whichever way you cut it, that is fucking FAST.

An old friend of my dad's, John Tetz, has been messing around with these machines for a number of years now.  There's a lot of innovation going on in garages and workshops all over the world on these things.  If I had an extra $2000 or so and a lot of extra time, I think it would be cool to build a faired 'bent and put something like a 200W electric assist in it.  Done right, you could easily keep up with urban traffic, with the electric assist helping you get up to speed quickly and giving you an extra boost up hills.  You could even take a page from the hybrid's book and recover energy while braking, but I'm still mentally tossing around how you'd make that work and not impair normal braking.  Just something to think about.  With the economic downturn (have we moved to using "recession" yet?), this might be just what we all need to start driving.

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